Recently it occurred to me that the right of primogeniture was the way in which the dominant king (i.e., "Great King") imposed himself (biologically) upon his rivals. He sired as many offspring as possible through royal and noble girls. These young women were then married off, but their firstborn was to be considered heir of the adoptive husband's estate. Later on, if the Great King died, the natural sons of that king would continue to assert their birthrights. However, as in Biblical stories, there was considerable motivation for birthright to be withdrawn as those adoptive fathers sought to replace the "firstborn" of their wives with natural sons as heirs, especially when the old king was no longer around.
This custom allowed the Great King to also dominate the various priesthoods. We saw this principle in action with our analysis of the so-called Hasmonean takeover in Israel. By using right of primogeniture the Ptolemies were able to establish their own male lineage as High Priests in Jerusalem.
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